A story of two young sisters helping a crash landed alien.
The globe came burning into the atmosphere. Coming in very low, trailing steam, and just missing a hilltop, it flamed into the valley, sweeping between two rows of trees. It made landfall, rolling over the grass, and crossing a street before coming to rest in a garden.
An opening appeared in the shape of a hexagon, and something the size of a kitten emerged. It slipped head first to the grass, staggered a few meters, and collapsed into a flower bed.
Two girls were sitting in front of the TV early Saturday morning when the ball rolled across the garden. Eri, four years old, went to the window, and jumping up and down, pointed. “Yu-tan, look at the ball, a doll is coming out. Oh, it fell down.”
Yuki, two years older, ran up beside Eri. Pressing her nose against the glass, she asked, “Really? Where?”
Eri poked the glass. “Over there.”
“I don’t see anything, Eh-tan. It was probably a bird.”
“It wasn’t a birdy. It was a doll.”
Yuki put her hands on her hips. “Dolls don’t come out of balls.”
Eri pouted. “I saw where it went.”
Yuki was always ready for adventure. “Let’s find it!”
Running to the back door, they burst onto the porch. At the top of the stairs, Yuki took Eri’s hand. “Don’t run down the steps, Eh-tan.” They gingerly took the steps one by one, then ran to where the ball was partially hidden by a plant. Then, Eri saw two legs sticking out of the flower bed, “There it is!”
Yuki carefully parted the flowers. The creature was trying to move further into the flowers. The triangular fins around its spherical head were slowly changing colors as it weakly struggled.
Eri was fascinated. “Oh! It’s pretty. Let’s show Mom.”
Yuki shook her head. “No, Mom won’t like it. She’ll spray it with bug spray. I know! The loft in the garage. Eh-tan, bring a towel.”
As Eri rushed back into the house, Yuki squatted in front of the creature and took a closer look. Although the triangles were still flashing, it had ceased moving. There were no clothes or ornaments on its pale purple body. It had two arms and two legs, and what looked like a tail with a hoof at the end of it. She touched its back. The skin was cold, and yielded to her finger like a firm sponge. The most unusual thing was its head; the back was bare and a perfect sphere, but all around it were flat triangles like a child’s drawing of the sun. They were constantly changing colors, singularly and in groups, sometimes repeatedly in pattern.
Eri returned. “Here, I got a towel.”
Grabbing the towel, Yuki spread it on the ground, then gently rolled the creature onto it. They gasped. Its face was flat, and filled with a riot of shifting colors that formed shapes and patterns.
“Wow!” Yuki put her hands under the towel, lifted the creature, and headed for the garage. Eri danced beside her, her eyes alit, watching the colorful patterns on the alien face. “Can we keep it? Can we keep it?”
“Be still!” Yuki thought a moment. “Maybe, but don’t tell Mom yet.”
Up in the loft, they quickly emptied a small box and laid the creature inside. The lights on its face slowly faded until only the triangles glowed. Eri became alarmed. “What’s wrong?”
Yuki brought a finger up to her lips. “Ssshh. It’s gone to sleep.”
Eri smiled. “I want to give him a name. How about Flower?” In her innocence she’d decided it was male.
“That’s a dumb name. Let’s call him Neon.”
Eri raised her voice. “I saw him first. I get to name him.”
“Ssshh. You can’t call a boy, Flower.”
Eri was old enough to know she’d made a mistake. “Rainbow! His name is Rainbow.”
“Rainbow? Hmmm, okay. Come on, let’s get the ball.”
They quickly brought the craft into the garage and up into the loft. It was a beach ball size golden sphere covered with dimples of various sizes, but there was nothing to indicate the hatch out of which Eri had seen Rainbow emerge.
Yuki turned to Eri. “Eh-tan, where did Rainbow come out?”
Not interested, Eri waved. “There.”
Without looking Eri nodded. Her attention was on Rainbow. “How can he eat? He doesn’t have a mouth.”
Yuki gave up and hid the ball. “Maybe he doesn’t eat. He’s an alien and that ball is a UFO.”
Eri frowned, she didn't know what an alien was. “Rainbow is a good alien.” Yuki gazed at them with a worried expression. Rainbow slept all day.
The next day they got up early again and ran to the loft, but Rainbow was still asleep. After rearranging the towel on him they lay down on the floor with paper and crayons and started to draw. When they were done, they wrote on the bottom, Rainbow Asleep in Box. Then opening a book, Yuki read to Eri.
Hearing movement, Eri turned around. “Look! Rainbow’s awake. He’s coming here.”
On stalk-like legs and dangling arms, Rainbow walked toward them, between them, past them, and finally to the socket in the wall. Scrutinizing the slits, he modified the end of his tail and stuck it into the socket. He lit up like a neon sign, drawing applause from the girls in squeals of delight. His body was now a deep purple, his face sparkled in a colorful show of lights.
Eri laughed. “He’s happy.”
Yuki nodded. “His face is like a dog’s tail.”
Coming back on the same path it took to the socket, Rainbow stopped in front of the book they were reading. Yuki said, “Let’s show him the pictures we drew.”
Seeing what they had drawn, his face pulsed with a pattern of red and blue lights. Eri giggled. “He’s funny.”
Rainbow made a circle with his hands, and moved his arms from above his head diagonally to the floor.
Yuki figured it out. “Rainbow wants to know what happened to his UFO.”
Eri cried in dismay, “He’ll go away.”
Yuki explained, “We’re friends, we have to help him.” Leading them to the place where she had hidden the spaceship, she took it out of the box and put it on the floor.
Rainbow’s triangles went orange except for one blue, which went in a circle around its head. Rushing to the globe, he turned it over and touched some of the dimples. There was no response. The twirling colors on his triangles paled and stopped.
Rainbow walked all over the loft and garage, and Yuki helped him look into all the boxes, but he didn’t find what he was looking for. Yuki saw his head sag. She felt shame to be glad that her new friend couldn’t leave.
Going over to the drawing of himself, he pointed to the paper and gestured for something to write with. Eri’s eyes grew in excitement. “Rainbow wants to draw!”
Yuki quickly grabbed her sketch book and opened it to a clean page. She put it on the floor while Eri brought her box of crayons over. Rainbow’s triangles lit up in bright yellow.
They watched in wonder as the end of Rainbow’s arm wrapped itself around a crayon like a corkscrew. With deft strokes, he drew six concentric circles with two x’s each in the two innermost circles, followed by six x’s in the third circle, two in the fourth, six in the fifth, and two in the last.
Eri tilted her head. “What’s that?”
Yuki shrugged, then looked at Rainbow.
Pointing to his ship, then to the drawing, Rainbow waited for some reaction. There was none.
He stayed in the loft hoping to find a way to explain what he needed, and every day the girls spent most of the day there, but nothing he tried worked.
On the third day, Yuki brought out a checker board. “Eh-tan, let’s show Rainbow how to play checkers.”
Eri shook her head. “No! You always win.”
“Maybe I’ll let you win this time.”
“Yeah, I promise.” As the girls happily set up the board, Eri taking red and Yuki black, Rainbow came over and stood next to them. Yuki moved a piece in front of Eri’s. As Eri jumped red over black, she squealed, “Ha! You made a mistake.” Next, Yuki jumped twice, taking two red pieces. Eri screamed, “You tricked me!”
Yuki laughed. “Eh-tan, look! You can jump me again.”
As the game progressed, the number of pieces diminished until there were only two black and four red. Yuki moved a black in front of a red. Eri took it with a laugh which turned to a scream as Yuki jumped over all of Eri’s pieces. “You promised to let me win!”
“I said maybe.” She turned to Rainbow. “Let’s play.” Rainbow sat down and helped set up the board. He played a skillful game, keeping the end in doubt, but finally he let the girl win. He stood and spread his arms, conceding defeat. Next, he played with Eri and again he gracefully lost. Yuki looked at him with wonder.
On the fourth day they were eating caramel while drawing pictures of Rainbow when Yuki laughed. “My tooth came out!” She took out the piece of caramel with a tooth stuck in it and showed it to Eri.
Rainbow ran over and held out his hand while his face flashed in dots of orange and green. As soon as Yuki handed him the tooth embedded caramel he took out the tooth, handed the caramel back, and ran to his ship. Extending a thin piece of his body from his hand, he traced one of the dimples. An opening appeared and he entered the ship.
The girls rushed over and peered inside. Yuki was surprised. “It’s empty, only Rainbow’s inside.” They saw him put the tooth into one of the dimples.
The ship glowed in pure light. He tapped the wall. The tooth popped out, and the glow ended. Stepping out, Rainbow held the tooth in one hand. He split his other hand into three fingers and lit his face in a crescent of white light in a dark red background.
Yuki let out a deep breath for she recognized the smile and understood his request. “He needs two more. Eh-tan, give him your wiggly tooth.”
Eri wailed. “It’s gonna hurt!”
“Stop being a cry baby.” Yuki handed her a caramel. “Here, Eh-tan, bite this with that tooth.” Taking out another one for herself, she bit down hard on a loose tooth, and opened her mouth wide. There was another tooth. “See? It doesn’t hurt.”
“It didn’t hurt?”
“Not an inch.”
Eri was brave and soon produced a tooth.
Dancing up and down, his face lit up in bright yellow. Rainbow took the teeth and put them in three different dimples. Then he gestured, asking them to carry his ship outside. Standing in front of the globe and facing them, his face covered in changing dots of color, he held out his hand in farewell.
Yuki felt a lump in her throat and a stinging in her eyes. “Wait, Rainbow. Eh-tan, bring me a drawing.”
Eri came back with one they had drawn together, showing Yuki and Rainbow playing checkers with herself watching. She handed it to Yuki, who rolled it up and held it out to Rainbow. As Eri began crying, Yuki hugged her.
Rainbow took the drawing with his tail, and once again held out his hands. Yuki hushed her sister. “Look, Rainbow wants to shake hands.”
They took his hands.
They were above a lake, its surface so placid they saw themselves in miniature flying beneath the clouds. In the far distance in all directions the land and sky curved upward. Flying away from the clouds, they looked above and saw snow capped mountain peaks hanging down like gigantic icicles framing lighting bolt rivers flowing into immense canyons of sunset hues. Descending, they followed a stream gushing from a mountain cave, and trailed a pale luminescent creature with dragonfly wings.
Up ahead, an emerald blue light lit the cave and crafted their way to a massive cavern. Millions of creatures, companions of their guide surrounded a shimmering globe.
Then, they were in space, stars and galaxies glittering. They felt a great need to be with someone, someone very special, somewhere very very far away.
Rainbow opened his hands, stepped away, and entered the globe. It flickered for an instant and was gone.
They looked at the space where it had been, yet they were happy. They had helped their friend, and he had shared a precious memory. From that day on, the bond between the sisters grew from having a wonderful secret.
The shell of the sphere was transparent. Lights, shining from near eternity, covered most of the blackness of space. He’d been searching for almost forever. If only he knew which star was the One.
He had nothing except the primitive drawing to help him endure the loneliness of his quest. He looked again at their gift. His face pulsed in an alternating on and off pattern of red and blue lights.